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Psych Nursing Textbook, can’t put it down… December 26, 2004

Posted by danucube in Nursing, Prenursing, Providence.

I was doing some volunteer work in a medical library last week (I am on Christmas break so I have some time). Things were slow since it is close to Christmas. I saw a Psychiatric Nursing book and I took it off the self to read it.

I think I am in trouble again… I was having problem putting the textbook down because it was so interesting. Of all the books, a textbook!

It is one area of nursing where one uses all the psycho-social skills plus all the medical skills. The book is very fair and balanced.

It even mentioned NAMI and the Family to Family class. It talks about codependency and mentioned there are no scientific evidence for it. However, since lots of people believe it, a psychiatric nurse will work with it.

I always have problem with the co-dependency concepts because I can see it as a reflection of one of the current US cultural values – individualism carry to the extreme. Plus I do know scienticfically, there are very little evidence for it and it is not a very good label since there are too many different definitions of it (e.g. in the nursing literature, there are at least 4 different definitions and one of them is quite absurd). And in the area of serious mental illness, people use it in a “blaming” way which is destructive. Plus we have too many labels already, and this is one unecessary label in my view since I can deal with all the behaviors of “codependency” without ever using the concept. What really grates my nerves is that people label another person “codependent” so quick or they label themselves “codependent”. I guess it is the unspoken “judgemental” attitude that bothers me. That is like saying people are cancerous or schizophrenic where they identified the person with the illness or syndrome. Yes, I have problem with the term alcoholic also and I disagree with the reason why people use that term. From a seriouis mental illness point of view and also from nursing point of view, I am trained to not to do that because it is important to see the person behind the illness. I would say a person has cancer (not the person is cancerous) or a person has schizophrenia (not schizophrenic). Another thing that bug me is that it seemed that some people are so worry about whether one is being codependent that they have what I would call codependent phobia. I mean, this concept is even in churches… it is all over. It is sort of the “in” thing to talk about it and it is like a fad. Sorry about this rant… guess someday I’ll do a paper on it in nursing school.

I guess there is a deep philosophical differences in terms how I look at the relationship between an illness and the person.

I am glad this textbook is objective and fair. Actually, a good psychiatric textbook also do not touch on this concept much either. The one I read basically say it is part of pop psychology (I intuitively don’t trust pop psychology too much).

The text book did chanage my view of co-dependency a little in terms of my attitude. That is one can work with it to bring good although it is part of pop psychology and there are no real scientific evidence for it. I guess I can do some research on the “codependency culture” and figure out a way to work with it. Be an interesting research since it would involve looking at the hidden values and assumption of this culture. Also might compare it to Biblical concepts in terms where there are agreements and where there are disagreements, that would be interesting.

I don’t know… I don’t know if it is a good sign if I actually find the textbook facinating…



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